Some prominent Hispanic members of Donald Trump’s advisory board are reconsidering their support for him following the hate-filled, incendiary immigration speech in Phoenix, Arizona.
Trump met with the National Hispanic Advisory Council, which was created last month out of various faith, civic and business leader, once at a meeting in New York’s Trump Tower two weeks ago. During the meeting, the Hispanic leaders assumed Trump was “softening” up on his immigration stance and believed he was open to provide work authorization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in America.
However, the blistering speech on Wednesday that asserted that every undocumented immigrant would be subject to deportation put an end to that.
Jacob Monty, a member of Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council, refused to play the part of a “prop” and took back his support soon after the speech.
“He appeared to be ready to announce a pro-business, compassionate Republican solution to the immigration problem. And boy! We listened intently. We were hoping for some glimmer of the Donald Trump that we met with a week and a half ago but it never came,” Monty said. “There was nothing pro-business in that speech last night. After I heard that there was no way I could continue to be a part of a prop, apparatus, for Mr. Trump, so I resigned.”
Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, who once was a strong critic of Trump, but then decided to support him, said he was “so disappointed” with this turn of events.
“We decided to make a big U-turn to see if we could make him change. We thought we were moving in the right direction … we’re disappointed,” Aguilar said. “We feel misled.”
He also said Trump's assertions that he would treat every immigrant in a very humane way were a lie.
“Did you hear anything in that speech that was compassionate and humane? No. I can tell you there’s a real possibility we will withdraw support from Donald Trump because of that disappointing speech,” he added.
Massey Villarreal, a businessman from Houston, who like Aguilar originally opposed Trump but then offered his support, was furious.
"As a compassionate conservative, I am disappointed with the immigration speech. I'm going to flip, but not flop,” said Villarreal. “I am no longer supporting Trump for president, but cannot with any conscience support Hillary.”
Pastor Ramiro Pena, the founder of Waco’s Christ the King Baptist Church, who was also on the council, wrote in an email that he did not “have time or energy for a scam.”
“I will pray over the next couple of days but it is difficult to [imagine] how I can continue to associate with the Trump campaign,” he stated.
Those who have not yet withdrawn their support seem to be conflicted.
Tony Suarez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said he walked away from the speech with "more questions than answers."
The growing exodus of Trump’s defectors suggests many Hispanics now feel betrayed and estranged by the presidential nominee. The impact of this speech could hurt Trump’s chances to broaden his appeal to a wider audience and that can be very bad for him.